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The Dark Side of Blogging: Things I have learned about Extremists

November 7, 2009

The Dark Side of Blogging: Things I have learned about Extremists

Fanatics often do not know that they are fanatics and so they are to be pitied more than despised. Often ignorant and manipulated with lies, they act in ways that are normally revolting to their upbringing. Given a moment to think straight the fanatic will realize that they have been duped into acting out the wishes of an extremist.

I don’t get along well with extremists in the ordinary sense. Whether they are left or right, religious or atheist they just don’t seem to like anyone who is not them or at least accepting of their suggestions. To an extremist the worst thing they can find is not an ideological enemy but a person who does not care for the extremes of either side. Yet extremists often do know that the mainstream would reject many of their policies if exposed to the light of scrutiny. So they hide many of these policies in layers of deception and behind flags of convenient victimhood. The Cloak of the Martyr fits well for those who set out to deceive others. Does this remind people of anything? Perhaps the term Oppressive Cults comes to mind. If you really want to understand the mind set of extremists then studying Cults is a fine introduction.

I could spend all day listing all the reasoning and psychological reasons why people become extremists but they usually boil down to a desire for absolute power over others. Often to offset deeper insecurities like feelings of worthlessness they need enemies that can be used as a whipping boy in moments of intense anguish. There is nothing like blaming others to hide your own mistakes and extremists are masters at shifting blame. Yet it is not the psychological problems that we should be concerned about as much as how the extremists project themselves into the world.

They find a cause as their ‘Cloak of Nobility’ and ‘Moral High Ground’ to justify their underhanded and deceptive tactics. When the light of scrutiny is shone upon the activities of extremists then instantly the ‘Cloak of Martyrdom’ is wrapped around them as a diversionary tactic. It is the cowardly attack followed by the cowardly retreat that seems to be a common trait of many extremists. Passive aggressive is the new term that it has been given these days.

Tactics of extremists are often manipulative and deceptive with expressed purpose of reducing every issue down to a support base verses and evil straw man. If only they stuck to straw men then there would be few problems, but ambitions of rebuilding the world in their own image require actual victims. They will engage in hate mongering; emotional manipulation; validating of peoples prejudices and bigotries for the expressed purpose of stopping any form of critical thinking being applied to their suggestions. It is not the fact that they do not have a point of view but the fact that they wish to crush all other points of view that makes them so extreme. The demonization campaign against a rival point of view is required to make the questionable elements of their proposals seem less extreme and repressive. Yet if the rival point of view has fewer faults than their own and the straw man arguments lose traction the extremist will resort to attacking individuals in an unpleasant smear campaign. This is called ‘poisoning the water’ for those that have forgotten their high school education. The tactic is designed to associate anything a person says with evil. ‘Everything that Mr Black says is evil. Mr Black says it is wrong to speed therefore speeding is right.’ Though banal and intellectually stupid the tactic often works, for a time.

Bigotry is another emotional trigger that preys upon the ignorant and weak minded. It works because when you strip people of the veneer of civilization you will find the same primitive fearful and superstitious person that lived thousands of years ago butchering each other with ease. This is what Bigotry does to people it scratches off their exterior niceties and unleashes the ruthless savagery that lies just below the surface.

To what purpose would people spend almost every waking moment of their life thinking of tactics to destroy enemies with smear campaigns? To what purpose do people invent diatribes and puff pieces that are filled with emotional and devoid of any substance? To what purpose do such people attempt to emotionally manipulate and trade upon ignorance? To what purpose do people compulsively lie? To what purpose do they wear the ‘Cloak of Martyrdom’? If you think the answer is that they do all this because they care deeply for you, (or anyone else on the planet) then that is you naive choice.

Yet like many of my generation I was taught to be wary of those that speak in emotional terms and try to trade on anger. I was also taught to be aware of when people are trying to manipulate you by pandering to tired old prejudices and deep seated bigotries. I was warned that such people should be avoided because they have ambitions beyond any immediate bursts of popularity.

Editorial Comment:

Popularity is wimps.

Wrong is wrong when everybody is wrong and right is right when nobody is right.

Truth Does Matter.

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